Melon Growing Guide
When to sow melon seeds
- Although there are some varieties which can be grown outside in mild climates, for best results grow your melons in a greenhouse.
- Sow your seeds in an electric propagator from mid to late April.
How to sow melon seeds
- Fill a seed tray with compost and flatten the compost down lightly. Use a Tamper to firm and level the compost, as this removes air pockets that can lead to water logging.
- Place seeds on the surface of the compost, space the seeds evenly and sow a few more than you need. Cover the seeds with approx. 1 to 1.5cm of compost
- Water the compost so that it is damp but not saturated.
- Place your seed trays in a propagator and keep at a temperature of 18oc
Caring for melon seedlings
- Melons are tender plants and will need a warm sheltered spot to survive, a greenhouse or polytunnel is ideal.
- When all your seedlings appear open the vents of your propagator to prevent damping off
Transfer to pots
- When the plants are 2cm high you will need to transfer them to a 3 inch pot. To do this gently loosen the seedling using a dibber and lift the seedling by its seed leaves (not by its stem).
- Transfer to the new pot and gently firm the compost around the plant.
- Ensure that the compost is always moist but never waterlogged.
Transfer to final pot
- Once the roots start to appear at the bottom of the 3 inch pot it is time to transfer the plant to its final growing pot.
- Quadgrow holiday-proof planters are ideal as they ensure these sensitive plants get just the right amount of nutrients and water as and when they need it.
- Remove the plant from its pot and place in the hole. Surround the plant with compost, firming compost around the plant and add more compost to fill the pot.
- Water so that the compost is damp but not saturated.
Caring for your melons
- Make sure your melons grow in a humid environment with plenty of sunlight.
- As your plant grows, support it with canes or a growing frame.
- Pinch out the growing tip after 5 sets of leaves have been produced, this will encourage the plant to put out fruit bearing side shoots.
- When flowers appear make sure the plant is well ventilated to encourage pollination.
- As your plant begins to produce fruit you will need to support these fruit with netting. If the fruit is in contact with the ground place a tile underneath the fruit to prevent discolouration.
You can harvest your melons as soon as they begin to crack near the stem, you can also tell when they are ripe as they will give off their distinctive melon smell To harvest make a clean cut in the stem using a pair of secateurs
Possible pests and problems
- Powdery mildew- Caused by erratic watering or excessive humidity levels, ensure that the compost is always moist but never waterlogged, remove any infected foliage to prevent further infection. Ensure that your greenhouse is well ventilated during hot days. Our quick and easy to use Essence Anti- Leaf Disease Kit is just £10 and effectively prevents and cures powdery mildew.
- Red spider mite – Spider mites thrive in hot dry conditions, keep the plant cool and regularly mist the plant. Red Spider mites can be controlled by introducing a natural predator such as lacewings. See our Lacewing habitats
- Mice can also be a problem when growing melons as they will eat the fruit, try setting traps if they become a problem.